Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Not much happening here

I don't have much to report today. My life, after all, is not that interesting. It's fairly routine, but it's just that routine which keeps me moving forward, I guess. Today was relatively quiet and relaxing. After reading and napping the morning away, I had a good mid-afternoon run. I'm just finishing up my third week of training for Grandma's, which is in mid-June. The weather has been cooperative lately, allowing me to continue avoiding the dreaded treadmill. The fresh air is good for me, and I'd much rather run outside.

To complement my running, I just signed up for a strength training class which uses kettleballs and a suspension system. It's an eight week class, Monday and Wednesday evenings, beginning next week. It's circuit training, so there will be cardiovascular and strength benefits, which will hopefully speed up my running pace. I'm really looking forward to it. I haven't done any strength training since my last marathon in early December. It's time to get back into it.

Jet is doing well. He received a clean report from the veterinarian last week, which was great news. He comes to work with me just about every day. He's so cute, and he loves people, so the nursing home residents and my coworkers love having him around. He spends most of the day silently lying in his kennel, but I take him out to greet anyone who requests it. It's really nice for both of us. I think it's helped our bonding, and it's definitely helped him socialize with a variety of people.

Let's see. I can't think of anything else pertinent to report. Like I said, my life is fairly routine. And that's okay. Drama is way overrated! I'm okay with routine. In fact, I'm grateful for it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Victory over Plagiarism

I just heard back from Google regarding the dope who plagiarized 70, that's seventy, of my 2010 blog posts. Here's the Google Team's message,

Thanks for reaching out to us. In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have completed processing your infringement notice. We are in the process of disabling access to the content in question at the following URL(s)...
The content will be removed shortly.
The Google Team

That was certainly good news to receive, but it came with a caveat. The process of reporting plagiarism to Google requires the complainant to fill out a form with the specific URL of the original content followed by the specific URL of the copied content. I sent them 5 sets of URLs and explained that those were just 5 of the 70 posts which were plagiarized. I asked that they disable the plagiarist's entire site based on those 5 examples, as Google states they will disable entire accounts of "repeat offenders."

Unfortunately, based on their e-mail, it appears Google is only going to disable access to the 5 URLs which I provided. Therefore, it appears I will have to copy and paste all 70 original URLs and then copy and paste all 70 copied URLs into another complaint form.

It is going to be a very time consuming project, and I'm not sure when I will have that kind of time! It's really maddening that this jerk copied 70 of my original posts with a couple clicks of his mouse, and I'll have to spend hours to get it erased! It's daunting just thinking about it. But if that's what I have to do, that's exactly what I'll do. I'd certainly like to get my hands on the plagiarist, though!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Who would've thought?

I was sitting in my meeting this morning when somebody said something which sent my thoughts to my mood. I thought about how busy I was at work this week, with 3 out of 4 longer-than-scheduled days filled with patients. And I feel fine. I thought about my work schedule. I'm now working an extra 1/2 day per week, which I was very concerned about when I began doing that in November, and I'm handling it well. I thought about Puck's death, and the acquisition of Jet, both of which significantly changed my home life and routine. And I'm surviving. I thought about missing 3 weeks of running, losing a year's worth of fitness and having to start all over, yet I'm not falling apart. I thought about decreasing my contacts with my treatment team, a change I instituted a couple of months ago, and my mood remains stable and good. As I sat there distracted by these thoughts, I marveled at the current state of affairs.

I feel fine. I'm handling work well. I'm surviving big changes. I'm not falling apart. My mood remains stable and good. Could all of this be true? Really? My mind wandered backwards to where I've been versus where I am today. I remembered drinking and drinking and drinking, and the suicide attempts, and the loss of friends, and the isolation, and the debilitating darkness within. I thought about getting sober and how scary that process had been. I recalled the terror of returning to work after an almost seven year absence. Not only did I lack confidence in my stale skills, I was unsure if the timing was right. I was very anxious about coming off disability. I thought about financial insecurity and the food shelf. I contemplated hospitals, and meds, and ECT. And finally I saw myself sitting in that chair today. Somehow I climbed out of all that.

Of course, I don't know that I'm done. I expect I'm not. I know the illness still lurks. But I allowed myself to think, just for a moment, about never sinking so low again. Wouldn't that be wonderful and strange? But I quickly arrested that train of thought. I can't set myself up for disappointment magnifying future pain, if or when that pain descends upon me again.

I brought myself back to the present, the gift of today, and I felt gratitude wash through me. The reality of my recent history is I have more good days than bad. My meds seem to work. Hospitalizations are extreme circumstances rather than routine events. I've learned to live with focus on today, and today only, in order to keep relapse away. I'm managing. I'm functional. I'm contributing. And I'm happy. Who would've thought?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vacancy in the Character Department

You know, it takes no creativity, no brilliance, no sensitivity, and certainly no conscience to copy a blog post verbatim and present it as one's own. Copying 70 of them blatantly demonstrates someone who is devoid of any character! What is the point? What do they get out of it? Even photos? I mean, c'mon! Get a life!

Yes, it has happened again. It's been a few years, but I just discovered that another blog, called, (please don't visit this jerk's site!) stole close to half of my 2010 blog posts, pictures and all. Despite the blog title, the other posts on the site, likely also stolen, seem to be right wing political garbage. It appears the jerk began the blog in late 2010 by copying 70 of my posts before switching to the ranting political stuff. All of the posts, ranting and otherwise, stop in 2011.

I'm enraged! What motivated this idiot to copy my blog posts? Again, what is the point? I've contacted Google, but all I've received from them is a form letter (e-mail), saying they are very busy with multiple complaints, they've put my complaint into the queue, and they'll only get back to me if they decide they need to take any action. Otherwise, I won't even hear from them. If any of you reading this know of other avenues I can take to find and stop this plagiarist, I'd be happy for the assistance.

Until then... thanks for letting me vent.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Winter running

Brrrr... It is cold here in Minnesota! Shocking, I know. It was barely above zero today. I believe it is exactly 1 degree Fahrenheit right now. This morning, with the 20-40 mph winds, the windchill was something like -20 to -30 (that's 20 to 30 degrees below zero)! I had a 5 mile run on my schedule. The smart thing to do, the reasonable thing to do, I figured, was drive to the gym and get on the treadmill.

But then again, I never, ever claimed to be reasonable or smart. After not too much deliberation, the thought of getting into an ice cold vehicle, with too little clothing, and driving 10 ice cold minutes to run 5 boring miles without moving an inch, was less appealing to me than layering up, slipping plastic baggies over my wool socks, covering most of my head and face in fleece, and stepping out the side door into the crisp, bright, breezy day.

I had a great run! I put on just the right amount of gear, and I was quite comfortable. I tried to avoid running into the wind when I could. The fresh snow made for soft, secure footing. The bright sun reflecting off that snow made the scenery lovely, and I had the local running routes all to myself. Instead of the five miles I had scheduled, I ran eight and a half. I looked like a frosty Eskimo when I got home, but the bragging rights I earned were priceless.

After such a nice run, the rest of my day was a breeze. Work was quite busy and ran long, so I grabbed some Chinese food on the way home and, as usual, ate way too much. I'm expecting a long day tomorrow, too, but I only have a 3-miler to complete and the high is supposed to be a whopping 12 degrees! That should be a cinch!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Running heavy, smiling anyway

I just came in from an 11 mile run. It was way more difficult than it should have been. I am pooped! I feel like I am starting over, which essentially I am, after so many weeks of illness and sloth. During my run today I could feel the extra pounds I've been carrying as a result of that layoff. I could also tell my lungs aren't quite right, yet. In fact, I went to my allergy/asthma doc the other day, and he prescribed an antibiotic and a steroid inhaler. Hopefully that combination of meds will finally kill whatever has been ailing me.

My asthma has actually been flared up not only as a result of my lingering congestion, but also because of my new puppy, Jet. I am actually allergic to dogs, and cats, and many other things. I built up an immunity to Puck, and I expect I will do the same with Jet, but it's apparently going to take awhile. Once I do, I can get rid of the steroid inhaler, which I hate because it makes my voice strangled and squeaky. Hopefully I won't need it for long.

Speaking of Jet, he is doing wonderfully. He constantly makes me laugh out loud. He plays by himself by throwing his toys in the air, pouncing on them wherever they land, and then tossing his head back and letting them fly again. He will romp, and jump, and race around the house doing this for up to 30 minutes at a time! It's hysterical! He is such a puppy!

Jet has helped with my grief over Puck. In fact, recently several people have told me how happy I look. Just this morning one of my friends said it again. It's hard to look sad, I guess, if one spends so much time laughing. I think both Jet and I were lucky to find one another. I think we're both smiling a lot.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spiritual Un-fitness

I think my spiritual condition is a bit deconditioned. In my program of recovery, we strive for a "spiritual awakening," which according to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous means "a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism." It is also described as a "profound alteration in our reaction to life," and as an "awareness of a power greater than ourselves." I guess two out of three isn't bad, but on a daily basis it is the "profound alteration in reaction to life" which keeps me sober and sane. And that's exactly what seems to be lacking lately.

Maintaining a fit spiritual condition is crucial to my recovery and my contentment. It is the only comfortable way for me to be in this world today. When I am spiritually fit, I am centered, humble, grateful, generous, and even serene. Spiritual fitness means I am savoring one thought at one time. My mind does not race. I am not blaming or irresponsible. I see my part in all my interactions and strive to treat others as I wish to be treated; kindly, gently, and respectfully.

In the past few days, I've had a couple of experiences which, while they may not seem big or important, indicate I am less than spiritually fit. First I raised my middle finger in anger at a motorist who nearly ran me off the road on which I was running. That was yesterday. Today I did something I knew was not likely allowed, but I did it anyway, and then got angry when I was told what I was doing was, in fact, not allowed. In each case I stewed about the incident long after it had passed. Luckily I didn't, but I could have easily stewed myself into a roiling boil. Voluntarily introducing discord into my life is my definition of spiritual un-fitness.

Now I could write several paragraphs explaining the details of each incident, but that would only highlight my spiritual deconditioning. Explanations would require me to rationalize my actions, blame others for theirs, and reinforce anything but kind and gentle behavior. Instead I need to look at my role in each situation, analyze my actions and reactions, and figure out how to get back on the right path. That will likely require a call to my sponsor and the reciting of a few prayers.

So that's what I'm about to do. Call my sponsor. The fact that I recognized my behavior after only two agitating incidents is a hopeful sign. Perhaps I haven't fallen too hard. Hopefully I can soon get back on the beam of spiritual fitness. Life will certainly be simpler when I regain my balance.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Nice Surprise

I got a phone call early Friday morning. It was D. He asked if I wanted some company for the weekend. Of course, I said yes! What a great surprise! He's an accountant, and this is his busiest time of year, so we weren't sure he'd be able to come here again until after tax day, April 15th. But he had an unexpected lull in his schedule, and he was able to get away. I was so happy! I had absolutely no plans for the weekend, and I had been feeling a bit sorry for myself.

D's visit cured my woes. He arrived around 6:00 PM Friday night. It was so nice to see him! He got to meet Jet for the first time, and Jet won him over in no time at all. Jet really loved D, too. All three of us had a great weekend!

Yesterday we went to the movie Silver Linings Playbook with my friends, Bill and Cindy. I was interested in seeing it because the main character had bipolar disorder. After seeing the film, I understood why it was nominated for several Academy Awards. While it was a somewhat predictable feel good story, the acting was quite good. We all enjoyed it very much.

As usual, it was difficult to say goodbye to D today. He had to leave earlier than usual due to the unpredictable stormy weather we were experiencing. Prior to his departure, we went out for a nice, romantic brunch at one of the finer restaurants in town. It was really nice.

I'm still smiling as a result of my unexpectedly eventful weekend. It was so great to spend time with D. It's never enough time, but I don't worry about that. I'm grateful he made time for me, not to mention the 4 hour drive, despite his busy work schedule. Our relationship is going well. Slowly but surely we seem to be building something good. I'm grateful for that, too.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A slow day

It's been really chilly and gray here. I think it's getting to me. I saw my psychiatrist this morning and told her I was doing okay, which is true, but that's it. I'm not good. I'm not bad. I'm just okay. My mood seems to be in a holding pattern, a slightly lower than normal holding pattern. I guess I match the recent weather. I'm gray.

Gray is actually quite tiring. I'm so tired! I'm lacking motivation and spunk. I feel like I'm walking through molasses in a fog. I don't like that feeling. It's a feeling I usually associate with being quite low, so of course it makes me nervous. I'm hoping it passes before the other shoe drops.

Today was a particularly slow, tired day. I had things to do, but I couldn't get off the sofa most of the day. When I finally did get up, I took Jet for a walk, and then feeling like I was on a roll, I decided to run. Maybe that wasn't the best decision, because right now I can barely move!

My run was horrible. My legs were dead weight. My pace was slow. My lungs couldn't seem to take in enough air. I even had to walk in the middle of a 3-mile loop! The combination of low motivation and poor physical response was too much to overcome. I was frustrated, and I couldn't wait to be done.

Now I'm sitting here in sweats, barely maintaining my upright position, ready to hit the sofa once again. I guess it's just one of those days. It's one of those days I periodically experience, as I live with this illness of depression. Tomorrow will hopefully bring some energy and relief. Until then, my friends.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A slow return

I finally got back on the road. I went for a run on Saturday. It had been at least 12 days since my last run. This was more of a slog than a run, but at least I got out of the house. My feet moved. My lungs expanded. I breathed in the fresh air. I coughed. I kept going. I took it slow, the coughing got better, and I made it 6 miles before calling it quits.

I just got in from another run. It was colder tonight, and the footing was dicey. I took it slow again. I got tired more quickly than I would have liked, but I felt satisfied when I finished. I hate starting over. I hate when easy running feels hard. But I am so, so glad to be back on the road! I am not complaining!

I think I'll probably be taking things slow for a little while. My chest is still congested. I don't know. Maybe I had pneumonia again because this thing is really hanging on. I'm better, but there is still gunk in one area in my chest. It's weird. Once in awhile I can reach it with a cough, but most of my coughing is just annoying and unproductive. I sound like a smoker for crying out loud! I guess I just need to be patient. At least I'm running again!

Speaking of running, I've decided to run Grandma's Marathon again this year. It is 19 weeks from now on Saturday, June 22nd. As most of you know, I function much better when I have a goal. The plan to run Grandma's will keep getting me out the door when I'm feeling tired or low. I've already typed out the 18 week training schedule. I'll use this week to just get my feet back under me, and next week, the beginning of the schedule, is also easy. Like I said, I'm doing my best to take things slow.

Patience. I guess that's the lesson for today. I'm working on my acceptance and patience. I need to accept where I'm at today and try to be patient with my return to form. I think I'm off to a fairly good start.